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Astronomers May Have Found an Interstellar Comet. Here's Why That Matters.

Jason Davis • September 13, 2019

Astrophysicist Karl Battams tells us what we can learn by studying objects from outside our solar system.

Here's How I'm Celebrating 53 Years of Star Trek

Robert Picardo • September 08, 2019

Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram and Planetary Society Board member Robert Picardo uncovers rare Star Trek artifacts at The Planetary Society.

India's Vikram Spacecraft Apparently Crash-Lands on Moon

Jason Davis • September 06, 2019

Communications were lost with the lander, which was carrying a small rover named Pragyan to the lunar surface.

Calling All Image Processors: Help Us Create a Top-Down View of LightSail 2

Jason Davis • September 06, 2019

We've got 2 fish-eye pictures of the spacecraft's solar sail from opposite cameras, and we're hoping they can be combined.

The September Equinox 2019 Issue of The Planetary Report Is Out!

Emily Lakdawalla • September 03, 2019

A new issue of The Planetary Report brings you our pride in the success of LightSail 2 and our gratitude to our members for making it happen. Plus Venus science from Akatsuki and Venus Express, and the status of planetary defense.

Your Impact: Mission Success!

The Planetary Society • September 03, 2019

Your LightSail 2 spacecraft is in space, controlling its orbit solely on the power of sunlight.

Where We Are

Emily Lakdawalla • September 03, 2019

We lost and gained spacecraft at the Moon last quarter. India’s Chandrayaan-2 left Earth orbit for the Moon on 13 August, and its Vikram lander aims at a 7 September touchdown. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter just celebrated its tenth launch anniversary. China’s smallsat Longjiang-2 crashed on 31 July, ending its successful mission.

Why I Explore

Jennifer Vaughn • September 03, 2019

I explore space because I like feeling insignificant. I crave a dark night sky that reminds me that our Sun and even our galaxy are not unique. I find comfort in thinking about countless generations of humans looking at the same sky and asking questions similar to the ones I ask.

The State of Planetary Defense

Vishnu Reddy • September 03, 2019

Vishnu Reddy delivers a sober but hopeful report on our understanding of near-Earth objects, their dangers, and our readiness.

Venus’ Ocean of Air and Clouds

Javier Peralta • September 03, 2019

Javier Peralta plumbs the depths of Venus’ atmosphere through the eyes of the Venus Express and Akatsuki orbiters.

Hayabusa2 Lander Mania: Results from MASCOT, Plans for MINERVA-II2

Jason Davis • August 28, 2019

Japan's sample return spacecraft only has about 3 months left at asteroid Ryugu. Its next action will be to drop more stuff on the surface.

Here's How the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will Revolutionize Small-Body Science

Darin Ragozzine • August 26, 2019

The LSST is expected to increase the number of known small bodies by more than a factor of 10.

LightSail 2 Marks 1 Month of Solar Sailing

Jason Davis • August 23, 2019

LightSail 2's orbital high point around the Earth has raised by 7.2 kilometers, without any conventional fuel.

Is a $2 Billion Prize for Landing on the Moon a Good Idea?

Casey Dreier • August 23, 2019

Though prize incentives can be useful for certain problems, huge cash payouts for human spaceflight are not good policy.

Mars 2020 Rover almost Assembled

Jason Davis • August 22, 2019

Last week, technicians installed the carousel that holds the tools and drill bits that will be used to collect samples for future return to Earth.

Chandrayaan-2 Enters Lunar Orbit

Jason Davis • August 20, 2019

The combination lander, rover, and orbiter fired its main engine to enter orbit around the Moon at 09:02 IST (03:32 UTC) on 20 August.

OSIRIS-REx Team Picks 4 Candidate Sample Sites on Asteroid Bennu

Jason Davis • August 15, 2019

The sites each have unique characteristics that would advance the field of asteroid science.

How to See LightSail 2 in the Night Sky

Jason Davis • August 14, 2019

If your latitude is within 42 degrees of the equator, there's a chance you may be able to spot LightSail 2's reflective solar sail.

Chandrayaan-2 Headed for Lunar Orbit

Jason Davis • August 13, 2019

At 02:21 IST (20:51 UTC), the spacecraft fired its main engine, changing its orbit to intersect with the Moon.

NASA, ESA Officials Outline Latest Mars Sample Return Plans

Justin Cowart • August 13, 2019

The current strategy includes the Mars 2020 rover, a lander carrying a rover and ascent vehicle, and an Earth return orbiter.

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